Jayhawks leave Sunflower Showdown with broken wings

October 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

Boy, was I wrong.

I mean, was it really all that crazy to think a Kansas football team who had two weeks to prepare for K-State had a chance to win at home?  I guess so.

Jordan Webb gets up after being sacked. K-State defeated KU 59-7.

After a 59-7 loss against the Wildcats last night, it seems that the Baylor loss wasn’t a fluke or a mishap on the road.  It’s sad to say, but I have a feeling a lot of the Turner Gill believers are turning into Turner Gill doubters.  Can you blame them?

Personally, I’m not ready to completely give up on Gill.  I still think he brings a lot to the table as a man of football and as a man of character.  But last night there were some things that crossed my mind about the performance from the Kansas football team.  To win fans back, he doesn’t have to start winning every football game.  That said, his team must start COMPETING in every game.  KU competed in the first K-State drive which led to a three and out.  After that it was child’s play for the Wildcat offense.

A lot of Jayhawk fans who witnessed the execution could probably tell that the KU players looked smaller, weaker and slower.  But what I saw was a team that was unprepared.  Even though they had a bye week to prepare for K-State, after the first possession of the game they had no answer for Carson Coffman.  The same QB who was pulled from last week’s game against Nebraska for his poor performance threw and ran all over the Jayhawk defense for a combined total of 5 touchdowns.

Kansas held star running back Daniel Thomas to just 91 yards and one touchdown, but did they even watch film on Coffman to know that he can be a running threat, too?  Snyder realized it early and never let up.  Props, old man.  You have to put most of that weight on the shoulders of the Kansas coaching staff.

Turnovers.  My goodness did Kansas turn the ball over.  Deshaun Sands was stripped (who shouldn’t be carrying the ball right now), James Sims was stripped and Jordan Webb was picked off in the endzone.  KU was -2 in the turnover margin and it showed.  Technically it’s not a statistic, but Gill went for a 4th and 2 from about mid-field and didn’t move the chains.  In my eyes that’s a turnover, too.  Especially because K-State scored on the change of possession starting at their own 42 yard line.  And don’t forget penalties, 7 for 76 yards.  Nothing is a bigger drive killer than back to back penalties.

Turner Gill said in previous press conferences that he wanted to try and throw the ball down field more.  Well, they sure did throw the ball downfield more in this game.  It’s just that in the game of football, you should have somenone down the field that can:

1.  Get separation from a DB.

2.  Catch the ball.

Otherwise, it’s like playing catch with yourself.  And as much as people can rag on Jordan Webb, give the kid a break.  He gets absolutely no time in the pocket and obviously  gets no help from his wide receivers.

Honestly, there is not much to say about the offense.  Plain and simple, they cannot move the ball.  When defenses shut down Daymond Patterson, Kansas crumbles.  Where the heck is Jonathan Wilson?  The most experienced receiver on the team hasn’t been a factor in any game this season.  He has incredibly disappointing numbers and hasn’t used his senior leadership to take the team under his wing.

My biggest disagreement about Turner Gill is his decision to move Toben Opurum to linebacker.  We have seen hardly any positive results from moving KU’s leading rusher from last season to foreign territory on the other side of the ball.  Toben was brought in by Mark Mangino to play running back and out-rushed Jake Sharp in limited games in 2009.  I’m still sticking with my opinion that he needs to have the ball in his hands.  I know that Gill wants to get his young RB’s experience, but it is crucial that this offense gets some fire power or KU may not put up more than seven points the rest of the season.

You cannot expect true freshman James Sims to carry the weight of the ground attack.  And I know Deshaun Sands is quick, but just because his father player RB at Kansas doesn’t mean he needs carries right now.  He is very small in stature and ball security is a major issue.  Gill finally started giving carries to 6th year (yes, I said 6) running back Angus Quigley, but it made no difference in the game.

Bourben?  Yes, please (how creative, right?)!  Is it time to take the redshirt off of four-star running back Brandon Bourbon yet?  You could probably go both ways on this one.  We’re already halfway through the season and there is currently no light at the end of the tunnel, so why waste it?  Then again, why not get him as much experience as possible for next season.  My gut feeling is that Bourbon will be sidelined the rest of the year.

Kansas is having some true identity issues right now and they need to be solved quick.  I can only imagine those recruits who witnessed KU beat then ranked #15 Georgia Tech and leaned a little towards Lawrence are starting to reconsider.  Hate to say it, but it’s true.  114-14 in the last two games?  Icky!

After listening to Turner Gill’s post game interview last night, I recognized LJWorld and KUSports.com writer Tom Keegan’s voice ask the question, “Do you think you’re getting better as a team or worse?”  May seem harsh, but actually a great question.  Gill took a moment and replied, “We’re not a very good football team.”  It’s about time that was publicly acknowledged.

Like I said earlier, I’m not a “Fire Turner Gill” guy.  I’m not quick to jump ship in situations like this.  Everyone must realize that these are growing pains of a new coaching staff and young players asked to fill big shoes.

As good as Mark Mangino was for the Kansas football program, I’m not crying out to bring him back.  But here is something to think about:  If Mark Mangino was still the head coach of the University of Kansas, how would Kansas have competed in this game?  With the exception of a few, these are Mangino’s recruits and the players he would have been coaching.  I still think Kansas loses this game, but I do think he would have had the team prepared, both physically and mentally.  Anyone disagree?

Turner Gill has to do a better job of preparation and coaching.  The most important thing for Kansas fans to remember is that these kids need support.  Don’t throw your hands up and be the “thank God it’s basketball season” type (although I am ecstatic).  I’ll keep watching the games, no matter how ugly they get.  These players don’t need anyone telling them how bad they’ve been playing, they know this.  We’ll just have to try and pull positives out of each game but in this loss, they were slim to none.

Kansas will host Texas A&M next weekend.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on FSN.

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